Switzerland may not be the most famous wine-producing country in the world, but it has one of the most interesting and distinct wines together with extremely beautiful alpine vineyard scenery.
The country has a long history dating back to 6th century AD when monks from Burgundy have planted the first vines in the canton of Vaud. It is located between France, Germany, Italy and Austria and each one of those countries have affected the culture and the wine traditions of this alpine land.
The German-speaking part is producing crisp, refreshing wine styles, and is most prevalent in the German-speaking north between Zurich and the Rhine. On the other hand, the French-speaking part in the Southwest is giving fuller styled wines from the nation's favourite grape varieties – Chasselas, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Merlot. Switzerland is the most mountainous country in Europe, and the Alps have a big influence on the viticulture.
Most of the vineyards are on slopes with high inclination and a high average altitude, terraces are very common as well. The work in the vineyard is extremely difficult and power-consuming due to the steep nature of the terrain, which makes the higher cost of the Swiss wines.
Switzerland has three main wine-growing areas which are divided according to the spoken language in them including the most famous Geneva, Ticino, Vaud, Valais, Aargau, Schaffhausen and Neuchâtel. The climates in all of them vary dramatically and it is favourable for diverse grape varieties and wine styles.
The country is famous for its Pinot Noir, Chasselas (known as Fendant, Dorin or Perlan), Gamay, Merlot, Chardonnay, Müller-Thurgau and the local white grape Petite Arvine. Almost all of the wines of Switzerland are consumed within the country, although the international demand is increasing and the Swiss wines are becoming more and more popular.